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Center for Faculty Development

Guidelines for Online Classes

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Minimum Expectations for Online Teaching

As when teaching face-to-face courses, instructors of online and hybrid courses must meet basic expectations for course design, presence, and communication. 

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Minimum Expectations for Online Teaching


  1. Create consistent, transparent deadlines for all assignments and put them in Canvas.
    Have a single day and time that assignments are always due for your class (e.g., Tuesdays at 8pm) and put all assignments in Canvas with clear deadlines so that they show up on their calendars.
  2. Use assignments to create a predictable rhythm for the semester and build connections with students. 
    Class community and routine can be created in a fully online class with assignments. For example, if you have a smaller assignment due on the same day each week to check on student comprehension of material (e.g., a discussion post or quiz) then that can create opportunities for class discussion. Scaffolded assignments over the course of the term can also be a way for faculty to check in each week on students’ progression of knowledge and give them feedback. We recommend avoiding having “small” routine assignments due the same week as other larger assignments, when possible.
  3. Make active use of the Canvas environment to support students’ efforts to organize their class work and manage their time and workload.
    Students tend to look to Canvas for their assignment calendar, grades, to do list, and more. Make sure all your required work is in Canvas so that students won’t easily overlook or lose track of them. Similarly, be sure to record grades in Canvas so that the grades showing in their Canvas app will be accurate. 
  4. Be explicit in your syllabus and in Canvas about student material/resource use for class assignments. 
    Different faculty have varying policies regarding the use of materials or resources during quizzes, assignments, and tests. This variation can create issues where students unintentionally violate academic integrity expectations by doing something in one class that is allowed or even encouraged in another. For your class, note on the syllabus and in Canvas whether students can do any or all of the following before, during, or after assignments or tests:
  • Use the internet (e.g., search for answers or inspiration) 
  • Use their textbook(s) 
  • Use their own notes 
  • Use notes shared among classmates 
  • Communicate with classmates or others 
  • Discuss the test/assignment with anyone 
  • Copy or share any part of the test/assignment with other students 
  • Copy or share any part of the test/assignment with outside parties or websites (e.g., CourseHero) 
  • Use calculators/computer programs/software outside of Canvas 
  • Other ___________________________

Download a fillable checklist by clicking on the image below:

Checklist for online classes

Editable Checklist in Microsoft Word





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